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BGS 2018: Claire meets William Birkin eye to arm-eye in the newest Resident Evil 2 demo

Resident Evil’s lore has gotten to the point of sheer absurdity after so many years and even more in games, so it feels good to think back when things were simpler and still not completely convoluted. Days when we only knew that Wesker has a normal dude who happened to be a bad guy, and when the only outbreak that was there to be explored was Raccoon City’s. Resident Evil 2 was a special game for a lot of players, including me, so getting to try out its remake for a third time was a must for me at Brazil Game Show. This time, I got to play through the demo portion that features a bit of Claire Redfield’s scenario as she explores a different part in town than Leon’s did at E3 2018.

Similarly to that one, Claire’s demo also proved to be incredibly atmospheric. Having the game run on Resident Evil 7’s engine has made it look and feel great, with impressive lighting effects that played well with the ultimately very inhabited empty environment that I explored with Claire. If you’re not familiar with Resident Evil 2’s story, the part of the game that the demo touched on happened during the point when she runs into Sherry Burkin for the first time, and has to fight off the kid’s mutated scientist dad, William.

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For the first few minutes of gameplay, starting out at RPD’s Chief Irons’ office, Claire made her way through a very industrial looking corridors that eventually led to her finding Sherry and confronting her monstrous dad. By now, years after the original Resident Evil 2’s release, the series has gotten all sorts of crazy in terms of boss monster designs, but in many ways, Birkin’s half-human, half-freak look still evokes a sense of bizarre that other monsters failed to reach, and that look is practically intact in this new incarnation of the game, arm-on-the-eye… erm… eye-on-the-arm included.

The fight took place in a room split by a lot of confusing corridors that sometimes led to dead ends with items, or into loops around one another. It’s a pretty good spot of a tense boss cat and mouse chase style boss fight, and also put some of the get out of trouble gameplay first introduced in Resident Evil Remake into light, the one where the protagonist jams a knife into an enemy in order to escape its grasp. In the demo, I was also able to do the same with a grenade, as Claire dropped one right at Birkin’s feet and got away after getting cornered and grabbed. Given that this was a demo, I’ll go ahead and assume she won’t be as heavily armed in the actual game, since her pockets were lined with all sorts of guns, including the series’ trademark grenade launcher, which helped show the item creation mechanic as I combined some items into acid rounds that quickly came into play during the boss fight.

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I can’t emphasize enough how atmospheric this remake feels to play, and even though the boss fight itself proved to be quite manageable, I still had my pulse racing trying not to mess up too much during the demo. And funnily enough, that feeling did not go away after I was able to scare off Birkin’s mutated hide and had Claire once again meet up with Sherry. Following the fight, a cutscene played as the two of them made their way to a garage complex and when they were about to look for a way to open the shutter that led outside into the chaos that the city turned into during the outbreak, Chief Irons showed up, and in true villain form, especially cruel and agitatedly, I might add, forced Sherry to hardcuff Claire as he made off with the Burkin girl. Given that it’s been years since I’ve played the original RE 2, my memories are a little fuzzy in regards to his fate during that game, but I’m sure it’ll be a good one. For the little bit of time that I spent getting to see him, he seemed like not the best kind of person to hang around with during the zombie apocalypse, even more so thanks to the great character animation and voice acting that’s now part of this remake.

The same goes for Claire and Sherry, who both look and move absolutely great. It was neat to notice how grimmy Claire’s reddish motorcycle jacket got after the confrontation with Birkin, and I assume she won’t get any cleaner the further she gets in the story. I played the demo on the same snazzy TV that I did Devil May Cry V’s, but on a PlayStation 4 Pro, outputting at super sharp 4K resolution. It’s a good thing that the wait for Resident Evil 2 is nearing its end because I’m ecstatic about playing more of it.

Resident Evil 2’ll be coming out January 25th, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Entertainium will have more coverage of it til then, so keep an arm-eye out for it soon.

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